Sir Charles Sedley Poems

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Sir Charles Sedley
Sir Charles Sedley (portrait by Sir Godfrey Kneller)Sir Charles Sedley (March 1639 August 20, 1701), English wit and dramatist, was the son of Sir John Sedley, Bt, of Aylesford in Kent and Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Henry Savile (Bible translator). The Sedleys (also sometimes spelled Sidley) had been prominent in Kent since at least 1337. He was educated at Wadham College, Oxford, but left without taking a degree. Sedley is famous as a patron of literature in the Restoration period, and was the Lisideius of Dryden's Essay of Dramatic Poesy. His most famous song, Phyllis is my only joy, is much more widely known now than the author's name. His first comedy, The Mulberry Garden (1668), hardly sustains Sedley's contemporary reputation for wit in conversation. The best, but most licentious, of his comedies is Bellamira; or The Mistress (1687), an imitation of the Eunuchus of Terence, in which the heroine is supposed to represent the duchess of Cleveland, the mistress of Charles II. His two tragedies, Antony and Cleopatra (1667) and The Tyrant King of Crete (1702), an adaptation of Henry Killigrew's Pallantus and Eudora, have little merit. He also produced The Grumbler (1702), an adaptation of Le Grondeur of Brueys and Palaprat.

to celia
 
 
Not, Celia, that I juster am,
Or better than the rest;
For I would change each hour ... [read poem]
phyllis is my only joy
 
 
Phyllis is my only joy,
Faithless as the winds or seas;
Sometimes coming, sometimes c... [read poem]
the hosts
 
 
Purged, with the life they left, of all
That makes life paltry and mean and small,
In thei... [read poem]
sonnet xvi: who shall invoke her
 
 
Who shall invoke her, who shall be her priest,
With single rites the common debt to pay?
O... [read poem]
ode in memory of the american volunteers fallen for france
 
 
Ay, it is fitting on this holiday,
Commemorative of our soldier dead,
When--with sweet flo... [read poem]
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